What action should I take when a father refuses to attend mediation?


I am exhausted! I am up in the night! I am single mum! Yes, I'm a superhero and my super power is co parenting. My son has two homes but both his parents have one goal - to raise a reasonably healthy, relatively happy human. Not much else matters. We achieve this through trust, respect and a lot of Whatsapp messages. In fact I couldn't be a co parenting hero without my trusty sidekick, so I can't say I have any experience of trying to raise a child with an asswipe (which in my opinion someone who refuses to go to mediation is) but asswipes in general? I've met plenty and I've found they can all be lumped into one airtight box.

At the outset I'd like to state I have absolutely no legal training. I haven't even done jury duty so this post isn't about legalities, it's about emotions, which are much scarier.

Question one: What do you have to gain? Do you really have to do this? If this man doesn't want to come to mediation what makes you think that he will agree to any decisions that come out of the process? If you are in a situation that inconveniences you but works for your child/children, think about sucking it up. Focus your energies on the things in your life that you can change. Can you enlist more help from friends or family? Can you change your working life to include more flexibility? One of the best (and hardest) lessons of single parenting is learning to do it all yourself.

Question two: What are the asswipe's motivations? It's one of three things...
1. He's not ready for it to be over. Mediation can symbolise a pretty hefty nail in the coffin of a relationship. If your ex is still harbouring fantasies of a reconciliation he may be avoiding the shits got realness of the mediation session. Women especially can be so polite in their interactions that they send mixed signals. Make sure you aren't giving him any hope by being too vague in your communications - don't be too supportive, too quick to listen to his problems or ever (ever) indulge in the way too easy sex with the ex. If necessary invent a significant other to bring home the 'I've moved on' message. 
2. He's petty AF. The only way to deal with a petty person is to hit them where it hurts - their wallet. Don't bother explaining the rational, mature reasons for mediation just tell him you're going down the legal route. As soon as he finds out how much a solicitor charges to pick up a phone he'll be begging for mediation. 
3. He's controlling. You'll probably know if this is the case because it will be something you've had to live through. In this case, you'll need to let him think it's his idea. I would never recommend being manipulative but don't do anything that makes his life as a parent easier, if pick up's at six arrive on the dot and not a second before. Communicate important information by email and ask him to refer to your messages if he has questions - control what you can control and if he wants your flexibility he may decide that mediation is the route to use. 

Ultimately you can't make someone do anything they don't want to do. Refusing to attend could have negative consequences for your ex; comfort yourself with the knowledge that you're willing to do the right thing for your child. Soon enough your ex will learn that you're not the bitch, karma is. 

No comments